Tuesday, December 15, 2009

An Open Letter to 'Perfect Mommy'

Dear Perfect Mommy,

Lydia here. The other mommies have asked me to tell you a few things. And let me assure you, that while you will not like what I'm about to say - I am not a mean person. In fact, I abhor intentional meanness (yes, I was scarred by unpleasant high school experiences). I have basically three things to say to you:
  1. You are NOT perfect (and neither are your kids).
  2. Please chill out before you either give yourself a seizure or someone slaps you with a sandwich or whatever they happen to have handy.
  3. There may still be hope for you. Maybe.
Why you and your kids are not perfect:
First of all you, you spend far too much time trying to convince others of your superiority. Its starting to get a little scary. As a matter of fact, even the most understanding of us are starting to delight in your family's foibles.  Because you make it far too fun to smirk: "He was potty trained at 18 months? Really? All your kids were? How fascinating... because he's 6 now and I understand he floated a turd in the pool that shut it down for three days."

Also, I get that you're all organic and holistic and disapprove of my carbon footprint (I swear - I am totally working on it. I've just been completely exhausted for the past 6 and half years.  Al and Tipper have already phoned me personally to tell me that I suck.). Apparently, this love of alternative medicine means that you ignore the fact that your whole family needs to see an allergist. The snail trails on your kids' faces are too gross even for me, and I just finished cleaning poop off of my shower curtain.

Oh, and you don't know who Dora is because you don't have a television? Are you KIDDING me? You live in America. You know who she is. Because I have heard your child begging you to let her watch Nick Jr so she won't be a freak. And because I've seen you at Target where half the kids' clothing has Dora and that damn monkey on it.

And despite your claims that all your births were at home and those of us who opted for epidurals didn't really experience childbirth, you know damn well your last baby was a c-section. That kid's head is so big that the necks of all his shirts are stretched out like he's auditioning for Flashdance. If you birthed that boy without drugs, you'd still be limping and hoarse from screaming for the anesthesiologist.

Why you need to please, please CHILL:
We all know you're really into your kid(s). But look around, hotshot, we all are. The rest of us just don't pretend to be perfect because we know we could be that mom at the grocery store with a kid SCREAMING about his urgent need for waffles.  It's not that you are so bad, you may even be really cool, but its just that you seem determined to make others hate you.  Do you need examples? Because I have plenty.
  • When you "strongly advised" the preschool teacher about using your yoga breathing techniques (so that the three-year-olds would stop being so rowdy), she flipped you off when you turned around.
  • Also, I don't need your counsel on how or when to wean the baby (and please stop discussing my boobs in public THIS MINUTE).
  • Yes, that child over there is being a turd right now, and I feel bad for her clearly embarrassed mom. But you are being a dick by acting like it's a situation, when it's clearly not. And meanwhile your little darling is standing there, glassy-eyed, with her finger up her nose.
I get that motherhood is overwhelming. And let's be honest: I am so socially awkward at times that the Cap'n has several different categories of ways that I embarrass myself in public. And I'd wager 99% of Perfect Mommy syndrome is caused by the same self-esteem issues the rest of us are dealing with. It's nothing to be ashamed of. I used to have a career. Now I wear my pajamas to the grocery store. You're desperate to be relevant in the world, while you are stuck at home being bossed around by noisy, short people who can't wipe themselves. That's Mommyland, get over yourself.

Now, the other 1% may honestly think they're better than the rest of us. And maybe they are. Like this one on the right. Oh, for the love of PETE. Yes. You're awesome. We get it. Your husband? Also awesome. And your blog is better and you cook italian food like Mario Batali and you get paid to make out with Jude Law and blah, blah, blah... If you fall into this category, go on and click the little "x" at the upper right hand corner of your screen because this is not the right blog for you.

There may still be hope for you, Perfect Mommy:
You know that guy Dr. Phil? A lot of people really like him. I am not counted among them.  However, he does this thing where he "scripts" conversations for people to help them deal with situations. I shall now endeavor to do that for you.

When you pull up at the preschool or at your third-grader's soccer game, and all the other moms see you and suddenly are very busy checking their cell phones, say something like this:

  •  "Lord, is that a bagel? I haven't had carbs in three years. Gluten intolerance. Totally sucks. You are so lucky, because I would happily kill my grandmother for piece of Wonder Bread right now."
  • "No, we don't have a tv. But it's because I'm a nerd. And a DVD freak. Did I mention that I watched Twilight for the eleventh time last night?"
  • "Is that your kid having a hissy fit out there? Nice. Feels great, right? Mine pooped in the community pool last summer. On the fourth of July. Yeah - that was me."
  • "Yoga? Love it. Because seriously, without it, I'd be popping Ambien with my chamomile by 5 am and still be a raging B all day."
So, Perfect Mommy, you know what will happen if you heed my advice? You will get what you want. People will walk away from you thinking: "I thought she was kind of a know-it-all-snotty-pants, but she's pretty cool. If I couldn't eat bread without getting all gassy and bloated, I'd be pissed off, too. I love her!" They won't think you're better than they are - they'll think you're great. Or normal, which is very close. And I bet you are. Just stop being a tool. I can't wait to see to see you at soccer.

xo, Lydia


(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. - 2009


  1. I totally get it re: GP. So irritating. Have you read her blog? Perfection is easy if you have those kind of resources (genetic and financial) behind you. But does she have to be so SMUG about it? How smug would she be of SHE had to scrub every toilet in her house? Loved this blog! LOL!!

  2. Can I add to the rant someone I know who won't vaccinate her kids, forces the whole family to be vegan and bangs on about additives being the anti christ and yet smokes in front of them and lets them play video games all day.. .Perfect on the outside but smoky on the inside!
    And GP is a total nightmare, right down to her size 0 arse. Mine would be like that if I worked out all day & had a chef!

  3. Love it, I have nothing awesome to say, just that I love it. :)

  4. I needed this this morning. Thanks for making me laugh... especially since I just wore my pjs and glasses to drop off my daughter and her school project at her classroom this morning. Oh ya, I hadn't even brushed my teeth yet, poor teacher! :-) I'm definitely not ranked up there with GP!!

  5. Same here. Dopping off my daughter at school in my pjs is a common ocurrance at my house. I just figure that girls at our local university can show up to class in there pjs, why can't I wear mine in public. And as for GPI'm glad I don't even come close to her.

  6. This is a riot! Where were you ladies when my kids were in pre/elememtary school? Me and my PJ's were sculking up to the drop off alone! Just to give you something to look forward to though, driving them to high school in your PJ's gives it a whole new level of meaningfulness!

  7. Totally loved this as I just had a 'not so perfect mom' moment at the pool when my daughter had an asthma attack and I didn't have an inhaler with me. Luckily, Perfect Mommy (who brings the coach gifts, chats her up, etc) had one - and I graciously accepted, said thanks and she just took it back and sat down stiffly in the chair. Oh well - at least we didn't have to call 911 and interrupt her child time trial :)

  8. I LOVE YOU! It's true...I worked 5 years in a daycare (in a snotty town for sure) and I can't express how many times I wanted to say these EXACT words to some of the Mom's. I'm making minimum wage, scrubbing poop off your "perfect child" 3x a day and you wanna tell me how to deal with ANY situation while you get to have a professional career and you DON'T go home and comb dried boogers out of your hair each day? Uh huh!?! Thanks ladies..from the bottom of my most imperfect heart.

  9. This was brilliant and not too catty! Loved it! I often feel like the loser mom, it is nice to know it is not just me!

  10. Just wandered across this post and want to say THANK YOU! And may I add the following comment: If you ever brag or feel superior about your child, it WILL come back to bit you in the ass.

    My first-born was a perfect child. Healthy appetite, slept through the night, high I.Q., well-behaved, etc. While I did my best to keep my mouth shut about what a perfect child he was, I must admit that, at one point my husband and I looked at each other and said, smugly, "I don't see why people think this is so hard."

    Fast-forward a few years: My second-born is a screecher monkey with a sassy mouth and low attention span. The perfect first-born is now a pre-teen, and I don't even want to begin to detail what a joy THAT is. My bathrooms are quite the petri dishes.

    I never bragged or pretended to be perfect and I am so glad about that because I still have friends. My youngest sister now has two little ones and has assumed the mantle of perfect parent (but more obnoxiously so, because, as she reminds everyone, she has a MASTER'S degree). I just smile and look forward to the next few years for her.

    1. OMG! That happened to us too! LOL I didn't want to jinx ourselves but I guess I must have slipped up at some point because omg my daughter, bless her sometimes sweet heart, is a total diva!! LOL And my sweet, easy going oldest is starting to cop pre-teen attitude! LOL I wear my jammies to school too! This blog is obviously standing the test of time (I just noticed you posted in 2010! rofl) but it's a timeless issue! I'm so glad it's not just me!

  11. I sooo love this! I love sitting back and watching the perfect mummies, or those who say they are anyway...just waiting for them to say one honest statement on how hard it really is and what their everyday lives are actually like. Maybe one day... :)

  12. This is hilarious!

    After a few encounters with those perfect mommies, I now know that whenever a mom says she absolutely 100% adores parenting her perfect children, every second of every day, that mom is LYING, mostly to herself.

  13. As a first-time mom to a brand new newborn, I just happened to stumble on this blog today, and I think I'm going to have to make it my new home page. Seriously, THANK YOU! It's so reassuring to see these posts from other moms who aren't perfect, and *gasp* may even struggle with raising their kids (and nursing, and not sleeping, and not changing out of their pajamas...). Anyway, thanks for some much needed laughs today!

  14. Hey I just remember to bathe today! Yeah, clean.

  15. Driving a kid to school in pajamas? Totally amateur. I actually stand at the elementary school bus stop daily in mine as every neighbor from two separate neighborhoods drives past. Come to think of it, that might be why my middle schoolers have banned me from their bus stop. Huh! But then I have never once in a million years thought I was perfect. A perfect mess, perhaps, but not perfect otherwise.

  16. I'm dying to say this to several mommies I know. One in particular who had a freak out when her school age daughter was accidentally given a cup of soda. GASP! You would have thought we gave her heroin. Take a chill pill, people!

  17. I have been that mom, and it's not fun... I thank you for posting this.. I have learned to relax and that my kids are not perfect and it's better that way anyway

  18. Just recently my son's H.S. Cross Country team had their pasta dinner at Dr. and Dr. So and So's house and they do everything. He was out for a run after a long day of saving lives, and she managed to make home made pasta sauces despite just having performed surgery and they and their children are all runners and smart and beautiful and they all play instruments and are going to save the entire planet themselves with all of their "green-ness". So all night I kept throwing plastic water bottles in the wrong cans just so I could watch her eye twitch. I made the most FATTENING Dessert (called Dirt Cake - cream cheese and oreos and powdered sugar - need I say more)and the kids loved it (probably because they hadn't had any sugar since 2003) and Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman asked for the recipe but then proceeded to tell me how I could probably make a low fat version of it, but then later I discovered that she had apparently volunteered to wash the truffle dish it was in so she could steal some bites because I walked around the corner to find the ENTIRE SERVING SPOON in her mouth. It was FABULOUS.

  19. Love it! Although at times I might come across as thinking I'm perfect (i.e. inhaler)... but it's really because I don't want to be that nurse whose kid had an asthma attack and NO INHALER... cause it looks worse on a nurse.

    I really don't think I'm perfect, and not as good as some.

  20. There are a few moms at our school who don't necessarily brag about how great a mommy they are but they all seem to have it together. Makes me feel totally inadequite. :( Perfect costumes (their's and their kids) at Halloween (one mom was Dorothy... complete with pig tails, professional looking short costume and red sparkly shoes... sigh... Another is in a running group with a bunch of the other "perfect" moms. I just don't get how they can be so ... perfect! and I'm not even close to imperfect... :( sigh...), time for bingos, great bodies and all those other perfect things that perfect moms do. I try to remember that things behind closed doors are probably different and everyone has issues but it's hard... I'm so glad I found this blog! I love that I'm not alone!

  21. Know what's funny? I never claim to be the perfect Mama, but sometimes I feel like I am being labeled as that... I don't quite know what it is, but one mom in particular, in my playgroup seems to act like I am this 'perfect' antidote. I dunno, I get the feeling she thinks I'm the perfect mom and really doesn't like me - and I don't even know why!

    Sure, I work at being a mother differently from the way that she does things, but it doesn't make me perfect! I might only do a max of 3 loads of washing a week (please don't hate me! I only have one kid at this point!) but I sure don't bake ANYTHING (I hate it) and I can't count how many times my little boy gets frozen chicken chips for lunch each week. Not perfect. Don't pretend to be.

    So why do I feel like she's judging me?? :( /end rant




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